Those four words can make your heart race in a frenzy, immediately making you wonder what the person saying them could possibly be referring to. When someone tells us we need to talk, we assume the worst. We fear being called out or having an argument, and we feel put on the spot — unsure of what they’ll say next.
When a conversation calls you out, it can feel like you’re being attacked. Instead of listening to what the other person is saying, you can get caught up in it and start to focus more on defending yourself.
It’s easier said than done, but you can listen to someone talk about you without taking it personally. Rather than seeing confrontation as a time to fight, see it for what it really is: a chance to learn about and strengthen one of your relationships.
After all, if someone needs to talk, that means you need to listen. If you stop worrying about what you’re going to say back you can focus on actually hearing what is being said and thinking about what it means.
When you stop hearing things that people have to say about you as a personal attack, you can start learning from it. Taking things too personally holds you back from growth, but taking it as feedback helps you realize things about yourself. Instead of firing back that you don’t know what they’re talking about, you can consider what they’re trying to say.
Think about how important something must be for you to decide to confront someone. Give the people who want to talk with you the respect you would want. Don’t make it a battle, make it a conversation. Make sure that you’re making yourself heard, but remember that a conversation involves both people saying what they think.
Next time you hear “we need to talk,” don’t panic. It isn’t someone trying to pick a fight or make you feel bad about yourself — it’s someone hoping to have a productive conversation.